Sunday, June 29, 2014

180/365-2 Clean Up


As I have said repeatedly, I am terrible with phone photography and am fairly ignorant with regard to phone photo processing and editing apps.  Today's prompt had both a technical and compositional component.  The subject was intended to be something related to "clean up" and the photo was supposed to be taken and edited on your phone.  As is often the case when I am faced with something with which I am woefully incompetent, I waited until nearly sunset to attempt my photo of the day.

Weber and I were sitting out on the patio surrounded by citronella candles and incense and I was smothered in insect repellent.  I sat comfortably in my chair looking for something interesting to photograph.  Though the surroundings were perfect for the part of me that wanted to relax, my creative self was becoming a little frantic.  I was running out of light; I had to come up with a subject for today's photo.

I looked down at one of the citronella candles burring in a metal can.  The colors were kind of pretty.  But really...who wants to look at a photo of a candle burning in a rusted metal pail sitting on a concrete slab?  I'm all about photographing my everyday, but I don't want to look back and be depressed by my uninteresting existence.  Surely there must be something around that is more beautiful than a citronella candle.  I was desperate.

With my phone, I snapped the photo of the burning candle.  I discovered that the concrete created kind of an fascinating texture to the background of overall image.   I hunted around on my phone for a photo processing app.  I have a couple, but I don't use them very often.  When I do, I tend to go for the seriously over processed look just to make it absolutely clear that the picture is an iPhonography image.

I am a huge fan of abstract art.  I like that abstract images make me imagine and think.  They force me to look beyond what I can easily see to what I need to see.  I like that they are always new and fresh because each day, when I look at a work of art with fresh eyes,  I am bringing something new and different to the work of art and it, in turn,  gives me something new and different in return.  As I looked at my photo of the burning bucket of citronella infused wax, the same process that I engage when looking at masterpieces of abstract art kicked in.  Suddenly this tin container of wax looked like so much more.  

I uploaded the photo into a processing app.

As I began what really ended up being minimal processing, the image emerged clearly as a sunset.  Perhaps this is because the sun was indeed setting overhead.  Perhaps it was because the many sunsets that I saw while we were in Delaware are still so vivid in my mind.  Whatever the case, I saw a sunset.  

Or is it a sunrise?  Tomorrow it may be. Today it is a sunset.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

179/365-2 Traditional Attire; June Portrait

"A Natural Bond"

Today's prompt was supposed to be all about portraiture, more specifically, portraiture  focusing on the "tradition; attire" of the subject.   I knew that the structure of today did not allow itself to a dedicated portrait session with anyone and I had no hopes of any interesting traditional attire.

I am still committed to taking at least one shot of each of the girls every month.  It is nearly the end of June and I had not taken photos of either of them yet.  Because we were out of town, I have not seen Erin much during June and Brooke's work schedule makes it a little difficult to get "nice" photos of her.

This morning, we all went out for breakfast followed by a trip to one of the local farmers' markets.  Being amidst all of the fresh fruits and vegetables may not constitute "traditional attire", but it is natural surroundings since we all love our fruits and veggies.  Though I did not take portraits of the girls, I did a few good "street" shots of both of them.

However, rather than play favorites with regard to today's "official" picture of the day, I decided to go with option #3 and use the photo of the sweet little boy, and his goat.  In his jeans and t-shirt and with his long curly hair glistening in the sunlight, I figure this is probably his traditional attire.  I love the bond between him and the little goat.

Erin used to wear hats all the time.  At one point, she had quite the collection.  I'm glad to see them making a comeback.  She can pull off just about any hat you put on her head!

Friday, June 27, 2014

178/365-2 In the Shade


Happy National Sunglasses Day!

I have said it here before - I am not a fan of hats and sunglasses because they make me claustrophobic.  The only sunglasses I will where at all are the amber tinted ones and they seem to be the most difficult to find.  And hats are even more elusive, at least hats that don't look ridiculously dorky.  I will wear baseball caps, but they don't do much to keep the sun off of my neck.

Having had several pre-cancerous spots frozen off of my arms yesterday I am trying to be more willing to wear the hats and sunglasses to prevent such spots on my head and neck.  Now I am good about wearing sunscreen and long sleeves when I know that I will be outside.  Unfortunately, the damage to arms was done when I was much younger.

There is always something to worry about...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

177/365-2 Have A Ball

 "A Ball to Remember"

These balls (marbles) were given to us at church at the end of book study on The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz.  This can be a life changing book if its ideals are taken to heart and made an integral part of our everyday.  The marble serves as a tangible reminder of what we hope to do.

Thank you Todd for facilitating this fantastic class and to all those in the class who faithfully shared so much of themselves during our time together.  God was working in our midst!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

176/365-2 Fifteen

"A Lucky Fifteen"

Sometimes you just have to go with the photo that is right in front of your face, literally.  

Creativity and inspiration were low to nonexistent today.  I was relieved when this blog popped up on my computer tonight.  The article has some interesting observations.  If you are interested, here is the link.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

175/365-2 Explore


After almost two weeks of being away, we are finally home.

I spotted this little girl in the airport this afternoon.  I can't decide whether it is super cute or kind of sad.  She seemed perfectly happy to be set aside with the pile of luggage.

I wish that I took better pictures with my phone.  This image had potential, but I don't get good quality images with my phone camera. I think it is user error, but I don't know what I do wrong or don't do right.  Oh is what it is.

Monday, June 23, 2014

174/365-2 Under the Sun


 I got my undergraduate degree in North Catolina but moved to Texas as soon as I had graduated.  When we travel to and from Delaware, we have a connection through Chatlotte, North Catolina.   On today's trip we decided to take a twenty-four hour layover in Charlotte so that I could reunite with my college roommate and my other very best friend from college.  None of us has seen one another in 25 years.

In those years since we were last together there have been marriages, divorce, eight children, graduate degrees, family moves, and many jobs.  In the midst of all of that, we lost regular contact with one another.  Enter Facebook.  We reunited with each other via Facebook and committed to getting together in person.  The stars aligned for that to happen today.

Despite all the time that has passed, we picked up right where we left off, as if yesterday we were those college students standing in the practice room halls at ECU.  It was kind of a surreal experience, a time warp of sorts, in a truly awesome way.

It will not be 25 years between visits again.  I love you guys!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

173/365-2 Summer Silhouette


Tonight is our last night in Delaware for this trip.  We are leaving in the morning to head for Charlotte, NC, where we will spend a day with some of my closest friends from college.  We haven't seen one another in twenty-five years or so.  I am looking forward to our reunion.  This excitement is tempered a little by the fact that my dad has not bounced back yet from whatever the infection is that knocked him down yesterday.  I had hoped he would be feeling a little better before we had to leave.

We need o go home and tend to a few things.  If we have to turn around and come right back, we'll do that.  Right now we are just taking things one step at a time.

We spent one more evening watching the sunset on the beach.  There were also belly dancers so there was a little distraction.  I'll miss the beautiful sunrises and sunsets on the beach, but I miss the dogs and according to Brooke they are kind of whiny and needy because they miss us too.  It will be nice to touch base at home even if it is not for very long.

172/365-2 Solstice

"A Long Day"

Today was a indeed a long day, one that did not go exactly as planned, which really is how most of life goes.  What's that quote: "lLife is what happens while we are busy making plans."  

We began  our morning in the ER with dad because he was running a fever.  After lots of blood work and a chest X-ray, it was determined that that he has an infection at an IV site.  That, on top of chemo on Thursday,  knocked him down pretty low.  

We had intended to meet a "virtual" friend, another photographer in the Capture Your 365 community, and spend the day on the Lewes Garden Tour.  That didn't happen for us, but that's OK.  When we got dad home, we did manage to slip away while he napped  and meet my friend and her husband for lunch and a beer.  We had wonderful conversation and food.  It is amazing how well you get to know someone by just looking at their daily photos.

We stayed home the rest of the day.  We kept encouraging the consumption of liquid.  To someone who is used to giving the orders, dad is not much on taking them, especially from his kid.  I'll keep trying.  At least now he can't send me to my room or put me on restriction for arguing with him.

I did not have much opportunity for taking photos yesterday so it was just a quick snap for me.  I have come to realize that my daily photos truly are a form of visual journaling.  They tend to reflect not the concrete of my days, but the emotion of that day.  I hope that in the long wrong this is a good thing.

Friday, June 20, 2014

171/365-2 Where I Stand

"Standing in the Park"

This is a plaque in the park outside the Lewes Chamber of Commerce.  It recognizes a tree that was planted in memory of my mom.

I am too tired to write much more as we got up at 4:30 to go to the beach and watch the sunrise and then had a full day with family.

This was taken about 5:40am.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

170/365-2 Historical Landmark

"This Old House"

This house was built in 1760 to be the home of a Delaware river pilot.  For two hundred years it would serve as the home for three different river pilots and their families.  In 1964, my grandparents bought it and "modernized" it.  They added oil heat, electricity, and indoor plumbing.  The outhouse, however, is still in the back garden.

My dad now lives here.  Though my parents moved in in 1998, I have always thought of this house as my grandparent's house.  And though it has historical significance, I still think of it only as my grandparent's house.

As I sit here writing, realizing that people have spent their evenings in this very spot for over 250 years, I am awe struck.  This house was built when George II was King of England.  It was built before the Boston Massacre or the Sugar Act.  It was built before the Boston Tea Party or Thomas Paine's writing of Common Sense.  The United States had not yet declared their independence.

In the fifty years that I have been visiting this place, I have never thought of it with regard to what has happened in this country during the lifetime of this house.  I'm not sure if that is due to ignorance or simply the innocence of childhood.  It is going to take me some time to truly wrap my head around these realizations.

As I walk upstairs to bed tonight, I will think about the many steps that have been taken up these stairs.  What stories have been told amidst these walls?  Who may have spent the night under this roof?  Who has shared a meal in the dining room?

So much to think about...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

169/365-2 A Field Trip

"A New Addition"

It was too hot in Delaware today for any extended field trips.  The best we could do was walk to the pub up the street for lunch and some air conditioning.  On our way home, we were lured into a store along the way by this furry orange and blue critter.  He wanted a home.  We were not convinced that we were the right ones to give him a home, but he was.  Why?  He said it was because the one thing that makes his heart sing are the colors blue and orange.  Based on our attire, he figured that we understood that and would make him happy.  We thought about it for a few minutes and decided that we could provide a good home for him.  

His name is Blueper (already given).  We'll call him Blueper B.  We spent some time this afternoon and evening getting to know one another.  We wandered around town a bit and this evening he went to dinner with us.  My one stipulation with regard to him joining our family was that he had to agree to being photographed.  He is eager to oblige.

Once the adoption was final, we took a walk over to the local church.  Beginning a relationship with a little prayer can't hurt, right?

Blueper and Weber were quite serious about their prayers.  I was serious about photographing them.

Church seemed an OK place to this furry guy.  He felt right at home.

Blueper has already asked his dad to help him set up his own Facebook page so that when he moves to Texas he can keep up with his friends here.  His dad has agreed to help him work on that over the next few days.  I'm sure he will let everyone know once he is online.

I'm also sure that he will make regular appearances here as well.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

168/365-2 In A Different Light

"The Catch"

Before I had a real interest in being a photographer, I loved silhouettes.  And when I started learning the technical side of photography, I wanted to be able to take those photos that I had always admired so much.  It has taken me some time to get here, but I think I am finally on the right track.

I have no idea who the little boy is in the above image, but I loved seeing him standing on that rock, line cast, and patiently waiting for the fish to bite.

Today was one of those days where I had several photos that I liked.  It was hard to chose which one was the official POTD.  Here are some of the others from tonight's sunset.

Monday, June 16, 2014

167/365-2 Mobile Home

"Pizza Not At Home"

They say , "Home is where the heart is."  My heart is with this guy.  He is mobile.  That makes him a mobile home, right?

Okay,  I came up empty handed regarding today's prompt.  We went out for pizza tonight and this is as good as today's photos got.  Let's just say that the pizza was a whole lot better than any of the pictures that I took today.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

166/365-2 Dear Old Dad

'Father's Day 2014"

I warned dad that he had the honor of being the subject of today's POTD.  His response, "When did you decide to make it your mission in life to embarrass me?" My response, "Um...December 28, 1961."  I  ended up taking paparazzi shots so none of them are very good technically or compositionally; however, this is perfect in the more important ways.   Dad is sitting in his chair doing the day's puzzles from the newspaper like he does every day and reflected in his glasses are his beloved Phillies on TV.  And then there is the Navy sticker on his clipboard.

Weber got to share with dad what life is like with me and my camera on a daily basis.  I'm not sure whether dad took pity on Weber or not.  And we had a laugh over the fact that despite being in the midst of chemo treatments,  dad has more hair on his head than Weber.

I'm glad we were able to be in Delaware this Father's Day.

Happy Father's Day to all of you who are fathers or have been a father figure to someone.  

I pray that everyone had happy moments with or happy memories of their fathers today.

Last Night's Sunset

Sitting on the beach watching the sun set is a object lesson in just how quickly things on his earth can change.  In only fifteen minutes, the sky went from brightly lit to almost completely dark.  I watched as the the bright ball dropped from the sky disappearing below the horizon.  I realize that this phenomenon happens every day, but it is not every day that I make the time to just sit an appreciate how my days are made.  Watching from the beach also adds to the majesty of the sunset.  It was beautiful.

One day this week I will get up early to experience the other side of this.  It has been a long time since I have seen a sunrise on the beach.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

165/365-2 Pick It Up

"I Have It!"

I am happy to say that in my wanderings today I came across no litter or trash that was out of place. I had to get creative. My family makes fun of me all the time because I am forever "losing" my lens cap. I have never permanently lost one, but I have had to retrace my steps to reclaim one (including two nights ago when I took my "grass" picture on the beach). This happens most often when I have no back pockets, which is my ultimate lens cap storage location. I know, there are many ways to rectify this problem, but it has become kind of a family joke now and I like making my family members crazy:-)

Friday, June 13, 2014

164/365-2 Dangerous

"The lightship Overfalls"

This image doesn't represent dangerous, but somewhat the opposite.  Lightships, no longer operational, were once used as floating lighthouses warning sailors of dangers on the water.  This one has been restored as a historical and now is open for public tours  My dad was integral in securing grants to support its restoration as well as having the Overfalls recognized as a National Historic Landmark.

If you'd like to know more, click here.

163/365 In the Grass

"Beach Grass"

Despite the fact that I got very little sleep Wednesday night because at midnight I was still packing and we had to be at the airport at 4am on Thursday morning, we had a smooth trip and thus far I have not noticed anything that I forgot.  All of that is pretty much a miracle.

It was overcast and misting when we got to Delaware.  In my weird little mind, it was perfect.  There is such a calmness and peacefulness to such days.  

After visiting with my dad for a bit, w made a trip to the grocery store to pick up a few things for him and a few for us; I had to address those places where our tastes differ from dad's -he drinks only whole milk, me, almond milk,  and Weber, none of the above.   We also checked out the fish selection.  I will eat fish when we are here because it is better than that in Texas.  Really, how good can the fish really be in landlocked Dallas?  We had a simple dinner and then I took a walk around town.

The mist had stopped though the humidity was thick.  My intention was to walk around in some of the parks nearby the house, but after doing that I wasn't satisfied.  I walked over to the beach.  It was almost sunset, but there was no sun.  I found a dune and just sat and watched the waves roll and the various birds fly in and out.  The sounds of both were calming and peaceful.  I had a perfect few moments of escape.

As I was taking photos along my evening walk, nothing really stood out in the moment as "the" photo, but when I got back and starting looking at the images on the computer, this one transported me back to my place on the dune.  May Sarton's quote summed it up more eloquently and concisely than I could with my own words.

I had a few technical difficulties which is why this didn't get posted last night.  My personal tech support agent addressed my issues and hopefully I'll be able to stay on track now.

162/365-2 Near the Water

"Near the Park"

It is true confession time.  I am addicted to photography.  We have to be at the airport tomorrow morning at 4am for a 5:15 flight.  I am almost finished packing.  I just had to get my picture posted and then I'll finish up.  Weber graciously took me to the park tonight because, other than the water in the kitchen sink, there was not much water to be near at home.  It was a beautiful evening to be out and I could have stayed much longer than we did.  I love that our city has so many beautiful parks to explore.

The irony of all of this is at this time tomorrow we will be on the east coast only a few steps from the beach; photographing near the water will then have endless possibilities.

Ok, picture done.  Now I need to finish packing and get an hour or two of sleep.  Or, maybe I should just stay up.  At this point that might be easier.  Hmmm...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

161/365-2 Staycation

"Birthday Boy"

Today was Weber's birthday.  I'd like to say that it was an exciting day of celebration, but that would be a lie.  We ran some errands this morning - Walgreens for prescriptions,  Sams for cases of green beans for the dog and Target for something that I can't even remember.  Then it was a quiet afternoon at home.  Weber spent some time reading his "birthday book."  I looked back at his birthday photo from last year in which he is also reading a birthday book.  Does that represent tradition or lack of creativity on my part?

I knew that Weber would be the subject of my photo today no matter the given prompt.  When I looked at this photo in light of "staycation" I had to chuckle a little.  He is reading Humans of New York and wearing his Vermont (from our honeymoon) T-shirt.  His body was in Dallas but I'm not sure where his mind was:-)

In an effort to eat a little more healthily,  we had birthday watermelon instead of cake.  Fortunately it was a nice sweet one thus making it a reasonable stand-in for birthday cake.

This guy also stopped by this afternoon with birthday wishes.

Happy birthday to the love of my life!

Monday, June 9, 2014

160/365-2 A Favorite Place


There are lots of places that I enjoy being.  Really though, who I am with is much more important to me than where I am.  If the company is good, I can overlook some pretty dismal surroundings.  Proof of this is the nearly a year that we spent in the house with no kitchen while we were remodeling.  All those microwave meals were perfectly fine with me because I shared them with the love of my life.  

It is always a dilemma on Sundays after church as to where "our group" will go for lunch.  Some have strong opinions about the food and for others of us it is about the fellowship mores than the food.  I really am not that picky; I can always find something to eat.  (This is why I had to buy pants a size bigger today.)  And yes, Weber, if you want sushi, I'll find something!

And now that all of the remodeling is done, without a doubt, home is my favorite place to be.  I am OK with venturing away every now and then,  but I am always happy to get home.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

159/365-2 Getting Away

"Getting Ready to Get Away"

We'll be here soon...

Saturday, June 7, 2014

158/365-2 Holding - June Self Portrait

"Drawing Mandalas"

So I have finally gotten used to, if not comfortable with, taking self portraits and then the focus changes to my hands, the part I hate most about myself.  My hands looks twice as old as the rest of me due to not enough sunscreen when I was younger.  Though I do many things with my hands that were worthy of photographing - knitting, playing the piano or clarinet, writing, typing, cooking - I had a hard time getting behind this prompt today.  

I finally settled...

Friday, June 6, 2014

157/365-2 Well-known Landmark

"Interfaith Peace Chapel - Dallas, TX"

When you think of iconic Texas landmarks, the Interfaith Peace Chapel in Dallas is probably not the first thing that comes to mind for anyone, even those who live in Dallas.  That said, in a recent article in which the Huffington Post identified what it believed to be the most spiritual place in each of the fifty states, the Interfaith Peace Chapel is that place in Texas.  It is a fascinating structure, the last by prominent architect Philip Johnson.

I am blessed to have the opportunity to play, as a musician, and pray here on a regular basis.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

156/365-2 Floating

"Evening Soar"

I think herons are elegant and graceful looking whether they bare soaring through the air or standing at the water's edge.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

155/365-2 Up North

"RIP Chester Nez"

Back in October Weber and I had an opportunity to meet and have a conversation with Chester Nez, the last of the Navajo Code Talkers from World War II.  Nez died today at age 93.  When we met him, we got a signed copy of his book detailing the amazing life that he lived..  This photo is a composite of a photo that I took of Chester Nez back in October and one that I took tonight of Weber looking at the book.  This is not exactly the image that I saw in my head, but it is the best that I could do with my limited Photoshop skills.

There is so much to learn...

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

154/365-2 Wildlife

 'Squirrel Friend"

There is not much wildlife around here unless you count the dog and cat chasing one another onto and then under the bed, and I don't think that is the intention of today's prompt.  All we have are a bully bluejay, a few grackles and doves and many squirrels.  I'm not sure that the squirrels even count for wildlife.  They don't even bother to run when we, or the dogs, go outside.  The squirrels are definitely comfortable in their surroundings.

I decided that today would be a good day to spend some time with my new super zoom lens.  What I learned is that I am going to need a lot more practice!  600mm is a big lens!  Even though I was shooting on a stable tripod, I still got quite a bit of camera shake when I pressed the shutter release.  The take-away from that is I need to use a remote shutter release when I shoot with this lens.    I don't have one for my current camera, but I do for my older one.  I'll give it a try and see what happens.

I read somewhere that you need to shoot as fast as you can when using this lens.  I had my ISO set to auto.  My other settings were obviously not very good because my ISO ended up really high and I got a lot of noise in these images.  I don't know why that bothers me so much, but it does.  Lots of things to think about for next time...

Also, squirrels move quickly!  That doesn't help with the sharpness.  

This guy doesn't seem to mind being my subject.  I suspect he'll be back and we can try this again-especially if I put the good stuff in the bird feeders!

Monday, June 2, 2014

153/365-2 Cheese

"Blessed Are The Cheesemakers"

This represents ero creativity with today's shot.  I like cheese to eat but apparently not to photograph.

Simple Sunday in the Park

It is amazing to me how much interest and beauty rests in the simple things in simple places.  I wandered around a local park yesterday afternoon.  The park is in the midst of a residential area comprised of upscale  high-rise apartments.  There are a few businesses on the lower level and a large mass transit transfer center sits on its perimeter.   With all that, there was a lot to see.

I had no creative plans for the day other than just to take pictures.  I had no real idea what I was looking for and I had no idea what I'd see.  It was one of those days where I was trusting the muse to take over and lead the way.  As is often the case when I surrender to the process, I was not disappointed.

I did not take any photos that will be considered masterpieces of photography if you are measuring by great artistic standards, but I learned a little more about my camera and lenses and I noticed some things that I probably would have overlooked if I had not had my eyes open and my camera in my hand.

So what follows is a collection of eclectic photos taken on a simple Sunday afternoon in the park.

What struck me about this image is the contrast of past and present.  Many would consider the "past" blooms as ugly and unnecessary, as a distraction to the beauty of the flower in its prime.  Yet, to me, somehow those past blooms put the present in perspective, just as what is past in our own lives informs our present.

Simple water fountains.  Three of them.  All different heights. Lined up.  Their shape and relationship to one another caught my attention.  I can't tell you why.

More things in a line.  Just trees.

Train tracks are so much fun to photograph.  The lines are so strong and they just scream "journey."

Perhaps at the end of that journey is a place that feels as cheerful and inviting as this.

This structure arches across one of the paths leading to the bus stop.  Their only function is aesthetic, best I can tell.  I was fascinated by the shapes and patterns.  It was also casting so rather cool shadows.

Several of the above shot were taken with my Lensbaby. I decided I would see what kind of results I could get photographing moving water.  There are several small decorative waterfalls along the park's path.  I sat down on a step to see what I could do.

At one point I looked up and caught this.

It was ninety degrees and there were lots of children running and playing in the fountains and reflection pools.  To me, these two little girls (I have no idea who they are) represent the epitome of the joy of childhood.

As you go through your day and your week, stop to look at the simple things.  Do you notice something new and beautiful?  So much beauty resides in the simplicity of everyday if we take time to acknowledge it.